Small Bites Friday Five 5-28-21
20-30m – Review the #SmallBites episode 33 blog Words Get in The Way. Pay special attention to the linked PBS eugenics article and the healthcare in the Black community article. Healthcare is one other system that shows evidence of discrimination and systemic inequities.
15-20m – Read this 2020 Investopedia article from Jean Folger to understand the systems that prevent homeownership and wealth building in minority communities. (Hint: These are not the historical practices of a bygone era.) Be sure to scroll down to the related terms at the bottom and if you have more time, also research the articles and links in the Indian Fair Housing section. The poverty statistics are shocking.
10-15m – Read this Forbes ‘discriminatory real estate practices 101’ article from Real Estate reporter Dima Williams (@DimaVitanova) that gives context to racial disparity in home ownership.
5-10m – Read this Harvard Business Review article about the ways that AI discriminates across gender and color lines. Thanks @brittanypresten @jakesilberg and @McKinsey_MGI. Civics teachers will find an excellent ProPublica article linked there on justice system AI bias and they have included learning resources for anyone who’d like to learn more.
0-5m – https://youtu.be/6T__NKPCkJw the look #talkaboutbias P&G campaign. Finally, the strongest systemic inequities come when we get together in our groups and other people. At the core of every system is one person willing to say it’s ok or willing to topple the top down structures.
I just spent the day with my son. It was a good day. we laughed, had lunch, coffee, fresh from the oven cookies. All that while celebrating him passing his drivers test, moving (finally, thank COVID) from learners to provisional and getting that picture taken at the DPS. It was exciting, I am proud.
As the day nears its end, I am also praying and swallowing down fear. I sent him, on the rite of passage maiden voyage, to get milk. He’s driven over 100 hours while waiting on the DPS appointment. And I sent him, a Black man, in a car alone. Google it. Driving while Black. There are too many tales.
I put his paper provisional license in the glove but wanted to leave it on the seat so his hands would never have to be out of sight if he gets pulled over.
He drives a very unflashy car.
He’s a very safe driver who has had a lot of parctice.
He’s going to be less than 10 minutes from home.
We have had “the talk”. He’s polite and well mannered. He’s about a 36 regular, so not too big or too tall. He is not wearing a hoodie or even dark colors. (For the record, none of these things should matter.)
Yes, all of these things cross my mind because the systems in this country so often disadvantage those who look like my son. How do we dismantle those systems so that moms like me can breathe easier when their kids go for milk? I’ll tell you. Change the one part of the system you can change: yourself.
Your bias and the way you accept or reject the biased attitudes of others around you who teach, storekeep, educate, police, practice medicine, pastor and provide service in every sector in every building in this country will take down systems put in place long ago. Those systems still hold hostage the wealth and well-being of communities throughout our land.
I understand that it is hard to feel like the accused, that never feels good. But can it feel good to NOT be accused while standing within earshot of even the possibility of inequitable treatment of others in our communities? Imagine acting as though you believe there is deep seated racial bias in our country, even if you don’t. Where’s the harm? Will you hurt others? Or might you find yourself lending a hand, an ear, your heart to those who see life from another perspective?
One thing is true, if you have not walked a mile in the shoes of others, you cannot know whether racial inequities exist or not, and all the resources in the world will probably not change your mind. But…if you know you can make someone’s life easier by acknowledging their journey and experience, that makes you a better person, not a worse one. And if you find some truth in the experience of others, that too is a good thing that brings us one step closer to one indivisible nation.
My ask this week, as I sit and wait for my son to get home safely, is for you to be that better person.